Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) is set to receive an additional two billion liras (around $350 million), boosting its budget from last year’s 8.3 billion liras ($1.5 billion) to 10.4 billion ($1.8 billion) liras for 2019, according to the newspaper Cumhuriyet. This increase in budget surpasses that of 29 other major state institutions, including the ministries of the interior and foreign affairs.
The Diyanet, the state body regulating the role of Islam in Turkey, apparently has, as one of its main missions, transforming the country’s education system. It is now fully engaged in shaping school curricula.
After the minimum age for Quran studies in Turkey was abolished in 2011, a project named “Pre-school religious education through Quran classes,” implemented by the Diyanet, was piloted in ten cities across the country in 2013. The project teaches the Quran and “basic Islamic information” to children between the ages of four and six. In 2015, the Diyanet decided to expand to program to “all places where physical conditions are suitable.” Since then, the number of “pre-school Koran classes” has continued to rise. It has increased to 150,000 students in five years.